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George Tyrrell

(1861—1909) modernist Roman Catholic writer and excommunicated priest


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(1861–1909),

English Modernist theologian. He became a RC in 1879 and a Jesuit in 1880. In 1896 he was sent to Farm Street, the main Jesuit church in London; here he was a sought-after confessor and made a name through his devotional writing. His friendship with F. von Hügel led to his acquaintance with the writings of the Continental Modernists; this contributed to his hostility towards Scholasticism and his stress on the anti-intellectual and experiential aspects of religion. An article on hell, entitled ‘A Perverted Devotion’, in 1899 caused his retirement to the Jesuit house in Richmond, N. Yorks. He asked in vain for secularization in 1905, but he was expelled from the Society of Jesus in 1906 after the publication of extracts from an anonymous ‘Letter to a Professor’ in which he contrasted living faith with dead theology. He was excommunicated when two letters in The Times (1907) protested against the issue of Pius X's encyclical ‘Pascendi’. His posthumous work, Christianity at the Cross-Roads (1909) questioned whether Christianity was the final religion, and held out hope of a universal religion of which Christianity was but the germ.

Subjects: Christianity.


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